Elf Pets: Santa's Reindeer Rescue

Movie review by
Barbara Shulgasser-Parker, Common Sense Media
Elf Pets: Santa's Reindeer Rescue Movie Poster Image
Elves' magic helps reindeer team with Santa's sleigh ride.
  • NR
  • 2018
  • 26 minutes

Parents say

age 4+
Based on 1 review

Kids say

age 2+
Based on 1 review

Did we miss something on diversity?

Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Educational Value

Meant to entertain rather than educate.

Positive Messages

Kids have the purest faith.

Positive Role Models

Santa and his elves want to promote love in the world.

Violence & Scariness

Santa's sleigh crashes in a couple of test runs, but no one is hurt and there are no real scares.

Sexy Stuff



Elf Pets are toys sold by the company that produced this animated film. Other toys include Scout Elf and The Elf on the Shelf.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Elf Pets: Santa's Reindeer Rescue feels a lot like a 26-minute animated informercial to sell toy Elf Pets (shown in their packages here) as well as The Elf on the Shelf toy made by the company that produced this film. While there is nothing scary or inappropriate for young viewers, the lack of a coherent story does suggest this is more about selling toys than it is about promoting Christmas spirit, even as it touts the depth of children's faith and the importance of love. Expect kids who see this to ask for the toys on display.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byCreativeMom2 November 12, 2020

Festive Fun for families

Boo to any adult who writes reviews of this movie (which is meant for kids) and doesn't appreciate that at least it has a moral compass (touting virtues of... Continue reading
Kid, 10 years old January 28, 2021

it OK

it ok. it for litlle kids. it cool. and funny

What's the story?

Those familiar with Elf on the Shelf toys will know the original story -- parents purchase toys advertised as "magical" elves that monitor children's behavior and report back to the North Pole every night. In ELF PETS: SANTA'S REINDEER RESCUE, those elves enlist human kids to take on mini-reindeer as pets to help carry Santa's sleigh. The animated short features a few songs and will provide a nice tie-in to kids who already have the toys this movie advertises. The movie is written and directed by Chanda Bell. She and her twin sister Christa Pitts and their mom, Carol Aebersold, wrote and self-published The Elf on the Shelf: A Christmas Tradition, the original children's book that helped launch The Elf on the Shelf toy company in 2004.


Is it any good?

Nothing about Elf Pets: Santa's Reindeer Rescue is particularly original, delightful, or offensive. For kids who have the toys being advertised here, this 26-minute animation may provide a harmless diversion. The story doesn't make much sense as it's taken up with solving a seemingly non-existent problem. Santa's sleigh has always worked just fine until now, hasn't it? Why are mini-reindeer necessary? Is there a shortage of regular-sized ones? Why do kids need to temporarily own the latest product, stuffed mini-reindeer (shown in the company's recognizable plastic packaging), and keep them at home when the final goal is to grow them big and strong enough so they can go back to Santa to guide his sleigh?

Muddy logic aside, the best thing this has going for it is that kids like to contemplate the pre-Christmas work Santa and his elves perform to get everyone their presents.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about different holiday traditions. Some families that celebrate Christmas buy elf toys that are supposed to watch kids and report each night to Santa on their behavior. Do you do that at your house?

  • What are some other holiday traditions that don't require buying toys advertised by this film?

  • Why is it fun to think about magical powers and a sleigh that can fly thousands of miles through the air?

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love the holidays

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

See how we rate

Streaming options powered by JustWatch

About these links

Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes when you use our links to make a purchase. Thank you for your support.

Read more

Our ratings are based on child development best practices. We display the minimum age for which content is developmentally appropriate. The star rating reflects overall quality.

Learn how we rate